08 August 2012


Twelve Things about The Ward

12. Most people refer to this as John Carpenter's Ward. Having seen it, I will always think of it as Amber Heard's Ward.

She does not just carry the movie, but is also carrying this post. =)

Great, great casting choice, Mr. Carpenter.

11. At first, I wasn't going to blog about this. The big twist was a let down, the ending wasn't very satisfying, and I wasn't feeling inspired at all.

But I had made notes while watching, and when I revisited them the next morning, they made me want to watch the whole thing again. From the very beginning, no less! Including the opening credits . . . with all those images implying that mental illness is a kind of hell . . . and also that hell is "other people."

For what we learn from the ending is that sometimes hell is . . . yourself.

10. But let me back away from the edge of spoilerage now and blog of other things . . .

I love the pretty cast!
(I'm just sorry there isn't a better picture of all of them.)

The Ward is like a girls boarding school movie . . . but with mental illness. =P And a figure who is killing them off one by one. What's not to like, really?

9. You might have noticed their "retro" look. (Don't you just love their clothes???) I wondered at the 1960s setting for a while, but it soon made sense. When else would you be able to feature fairly "modern" girls undergoing "Gothic" therapy techniques? And really, what's a mental ward without the Gothic elements?

8. Speaking of the clothes . . . Heard's pretty blouse and jeans had me thinking "Nancy Drew" for at least an hour. If I had better skills, I'd create a Nancy Drew cover using images from the movie. And I'd call it . . . The Clue of the Broken Bracelet.

7. Danielle Panabaker was cool, too. I've had a soft spot for her since I realised she was trying to shed her Disney Baby image by going the B-grade Horror route. (You go, girl!) She doesn't get much to do in this movie, though.

6. I won't go through all the girls one by one (because I'm not the killer--LOL!) but I want to say that they were all solid. You got your whole cast, right, Mr. Carpenter!

5. That includes the one I trusted from the beginning--a character who, in these types of movies, is usually either the villain or a strong red herring. Yet I sensed only okayness from that corner of the cast--which is another reason I want to watch the movie again, to see if it was by Carpenter's design and not just a lucky hunch I had.

Teens just love to scapegoat adults with authority over them. I used to be a teen, so I understand; I am now an adult, so I see the other side. Sometimes grown ups do know better. (But a grown up would say that, aye?)

4. I should have guessed, when they started crawling through the air ducts (LOL!), that the movie would be sacrificing realism for fast-paced storytelling; but I still felt disappointed by the lack of "real" science in explaining the main character's condition. Say what you like about the Brobdingnagian air ducts, but they're still more plausible than that!

3. Yet I did manage to justify our Nancy Drew's strange decision making. At first I couldn't understand why she takes only one of the girls with her during her first escape attempt, and then, when her first "partner in crime" is taken out, why she recruits another girl whom she totally ignored that first round. Then I realised that there are some people who just naturally think in terms of partnerships and accomplices (but not necessarily teams), and it all made sense. 

2. But I may have to catch this again to figure out the ghost's decision making. She seems to pick her latest target when the girl is close to getting out, whether she is trying to break out or being discharged by the doctor. But then she goes after one character who is so convinced there is no way out that she doesn't even try to prove she is sane or to escape by stealth. Perhaps I'm crediting the script with more depth than it actually has, but I'd like to think the killings don't happen at random--and that there is a "switch" that each girl trips before she dies.

1. As I come to the end of the post, I reflect anew on the end of the movie. It's not just that I'm really tired of cheap scare closings right before the credits smack you in the face, but also that I think the story would have been stronger if the "Final Girl" had had another type of vision. Less shocking than haunting . . . less of a cheap thrill than a quiet chill . . . less of a living hell from which there is no escape than a cross that one can learn to bear with grace. 

Image Source: a) The Ward poster, b) The Ward cast, c) Amber Heard


Banshee said...

Where do you find all these movies? This one sounds fascinating....

Btw, I hope you're not in the floods.

Enbrethiliel said...


They find me. ;-)

I've been high and (relatively) dry these past few days. Thank you for asking. I hope you've been well, too.

Banshee said...

Not too bad; I have a new full time job. Unfortunately, I have to move away from my apartment, but I've found a new larger apartment. So this might work out.

"God willing and the crick don't rise," as they say.

cyurkanin said...

I can't believe I'm still the top commenter... guess I should keep it going, huh? :P Didn't care for this movie, waiting for that Cabin movie to get to Netlfix next month though. Hey, when are you going to change me to the "They link and I like" list?, it's only been a few months...

Enbrethiliel said...


If I remember correctly, you're the official Silent Member of the "Two or Three" Book Club, and we're having another meeting very soon. So if you manage to stay in character for the next month or so--and if everyone else gets vocal--then perhaps someone will overtake your lead. =)

As you can tell from this post, I thought the movie's strongest points were the pretty girls and the pretty clothes. =P

I'll be reviewing another Horror movie next. I kind of liked it, but you probably won't. ;-)